It’s SaTerraDay once again…
Schadenfreude! Fun for the Whole Family!
“Schadenfreude” is the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another (Wikipedia). I know it’s wrong but I love this word—it just sounds cool—and as much as I try, I can’t seem to feel sympathetic and not gloat at the misfortunes of Scientology. I can’t seem to rise above and turn away from watching the demise of the church and seeing those old friends still trapped inside get their comeuppance. Apparently, I’m not as “great” or as big as Ron would have liked.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m great sometimes. Just not all the time. I’m not a mean guy. I like to help others. Unless they’re attached to my leg, I don’t kick cats and dogs. I wait for pedestrians to get most of the way through crosswalks before speeding through intersections. I donate regularly to a handful of charities. I love the great outdoors. I always bring something to potlucks. I frequently “like” Facebook posts. But damn me if I don’t enjoy sitting on the couch with my spouse after dinner watching Aftermath or listening to YouTube videos of Scientology’s latest misstep.
Let’s be honest. Nattering about others makes us feel better—at least some of us, some of the time. According to a number of scientific studies cited in Wikipedia (I know; using the Wik for research is almost cheating), schadenfreude is common to the human psyche—at least for some us, some of the time. For anyone reading this blog, though…nah.
What is it about the human condition that makes guys like me wallow in schadenfreude? Well…maybe not wallow, but at least take pleasure in the sight of empty “ideal” orgs and laugh while reading Regraded Being every Friday. Has some kind of inherent revenge factor been built into our DNA—or at least some tiny strand intrinsic to my branch of the human tree? You screwed me over; bend over, it’s your turn now. You bilked me out of thousands of dollars; I hope the IRS takes you for everything you’re worth. You promised me I’d go free; I hope you go for a swim in the Pacific with a heavy ball and chain shackled to your ankle. Not all Scientologists mind you, but for sure, DM and his most trusted sycophants deserve a good bath.
That said, if I could choose between pushing two buttons, one of which would completely destroy the Church of Scientology and everybody in it, or the other, which would miraculously deprogram those still high on the Kool Aid, I would choose the second. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that I was strolling down the street in their shoes. Unfortunately, Dell didn’t think to install either of these two buttons on my keyboard—no doubt, they were threatened with a lawsuit—so I’ve been stuck with writing instead.
The great thing about having been in a cult—especially one which emphasizes the importance of good communication—is that you get to regale your friends with horror stories from when you were trapped inside the bubble. Nattering with former members is a special bonus. I mean…come on…everyone likes to yak about how they were conned and abused. I know I do—even if I did get something out the experience and am responsible for my own condition.
For many, surviving a cult is a badge of courage. “Check me out. I made it out alive! Sure, I’m only worth half of what I would have been had I never gotten involved and I’ll never be able to retire, but do I have some wild stories for you.” Not only is baring your soul cathartic, it’s fun telling others of decades of abuse. “Oh my God, you should have seen the Org back in ’81. The musical chairs was dizzying! And that time I got comm-ev-ed…”
I don’t mean to make light of the pain others have experienced—and are experiencing—at the hands of Scientology. Too many have been forced to disconnect from friends and family members by this suppressive “church.” I was lucky; I only lost two best friends when I parted ways. And since neither my spouse nor I have ever had any family in the church, we were largely unaffected. We were also fortunate that we’ve always had lots of non-Scientology friends and that we didn’t give away all our money. May all the loved ones on both sides of the bubble be allowed to reunite in the near future.
But back to the natter. I have friends who’ve watched the Aftermath series, have listened to unflattering YouTube videos about Scientology, and have visited blogs such as this one or Tony’s solely because they knew their old buddy—me—was involved in a cult. If I had a friend who’d been a member of the Ninth Church of Seventh Day Devil Worshipers, I’d be inclined to Google the sect to see what my bestie was up to, too. Delving into the world of cults is fascinating stuff, especially when you’re able to attach a face to one of its members.
Is schadenfreude ever justified? Acceptable? Warranted? Right?
I can’t guarantee it’s the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics, but it makes me smile.
Still not Declared,